Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hire Globally, Succeed Locally

Companies have realized that to grow and develop innovative solutions from product development to problem solving, it’s best to have a diverse, international staff, writes Jeffrey Pfeffer in his Business 2.0 article, “Recruiting for the Global Talent War”.

Although diversity in business has been caught in a cultural war of quotas and political correctness, multiculturalism can bring people with a wide diversity of experiences with the benefit of insight developed from growing up in another country, or extended periods of working overseas.

In most developed countries birth rates have dipped below the replacement level. This means that when managers retire, the line to replace them may shorten drastically. In China, Hewitt Associates says there are few seasoned executives older than 40 because of the dramatic effects of the cultural revolution. Colgate Palmolive employs 20,000 employees in China but few Chinese managers.

It can be a challenge for companies to overcome their innate “homosocial reproduction” tendencies, says Pfeffer. People naturally identify with people who are similar to them. It takes more effort to hire and promote people different to us.

Employees need to cultivate global expertise by working internationally even if that means a tough relocation.

By picking employees that can offer a wide range of insights derived from international experiences, you may develop a more sophisticated outlook and are more likely to develop more innovative solutions. By being more open to hiring people with a variety of backgrounds, you’ll build a stronger business.

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